When it comes to Pioneer football, Keith Martin is a legendary running back.
Martin rushed for 1,992 yards ranking him eighth in school history. Considering he gained those yards in only 14 games as a RB, that averages out to over 142 yards per game.
Martin is one of 12 people to be inducted into the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2021. Inductees will be honored Aug. 27 during the Pioneer football game against White County.
While a Pioneer, Martin received all-region recognition for his work, and this is just in football. Martin also played basketball, baseball, and ran track.
“I started playing as a kid,” he said. His generation grew up outside and Keith played on many recreational teams, introducing him to a world of sports. In his early football years, he was positioned as a running back.
“When I started in the Junior League, playing as a 9- or 10-year-old, that was the position that everyone wanted,” he said, comparing it to today where the quarterback or wide receiver are the popular roles.
As a Pioneer, Martin was a tailback. He only played his junior and senior years with his junior year being cut short due to a shoulder injury. Martin only played four games that season, but he made a valiant return in 1988, his senior year.
In his first game back, the Pioneers faced Manchester and Martin rushed for over 270 yards that game. “I led the state for one week in rushing yards,” he said, “I had an amazing front line.”
He finished playing the full season capping his high school career at 14 games and almost 2,000 rushing yards.
Martin says being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a proud moment. Another proud moment was when he passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark as a senior. He had a delayed celebration saying, “I didn’t know my stats until it came out in the paper.”
Martin went on to play in college at Jones College where he was asked to play defense. He was put at strong safety where he played that position for two years. His reasoning to the coaches as to why he should play defense, “I was tired of getting hit.”
If he could relive his career, he said he would choose to play defense.
Martin played plenty of other sports. “My first love is basketball,” he said, “but I was built more for football.”
He played basketball for the Pioneers every season he was in high school. “Basketball was just fun every day.” Being over 6 feet tall, he comfortably played forward.
In his adulthood, he has played in a flag football league, basketball at the Civic Center, and an adult softball league.
He also coached football when his son Tylan played. Martin has two children with Tylan working in New York City and his daughter Keili who is an upcoming high school senior in Nashville.
In addition to being inducted individually, Martin was also a member of The Americans, a local travel baseball team in the 1980s, which is being inducted as a team.
Martin is honored to be inducted with the other 12 athletes being recognized saying, “It’s a great class of athletes, and I played with a lot of them.”